March 6, 2021

"Migrants are first and foremost human beings"

Pope Francis recalled on Monday that "migrants are first and foremost human beings" in the homily of the Mass he celebrated in the Vatican, on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of his trip to the Italian island of Lampedusa.

A Mass that coincides at a time when the NGOs that are dedicated to saving migrants in the Mediterranean, and that the Pope has always supported, have maintained strong impulses with the Italian authorities and especially with the Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, that prevented them from disembarking the rescued people.

Before the nearly 250 people who sat on the banks of St. Peter's Basilica, among immigrants, rescuers and staff involved in the reception, the Pope said that in this sixth anniversary he thinks "in the last ones who cry out to the Lord every day, asking to be freed from the evils that afflict them. "

And he recalled that among the latter are "the deceived and abandoned to die in the desert" and also "those tortured, mistreated and raped in detention camps" and those who "defy the waves of a ruthless sea" or "left in fields from a reception that is too long to be called temporary. "

This Sunday, during the Angelus prayer, Francis recalled the bombing of a migrant center in Tripoli and urged not to tolerate these attacks and establish humanitarian corridors for the most vulnerable.

And in his homily today he exclaimed: "They are people, it's not just about social or migratory issues!" It's not just about migrants, "in the double sense that migrants are first and foremost human beings, and that today they are the symbol of all the discarded of the globalized society ".

In a simple celebration, accompanied by a simple chorus, before the families of migrants rescued in the Mediterranean, mostly of African origin, Francisco urged to "help the weakest and most vulnerable" and to take "under the arm" the little ones, the sick, the excluded, the last, who would otherwise remain behind and see only the miseries of the earth, without ever discovering any glimmer from heaven. "

"This is a great responsibility, from which no one can be exempt if we want to carry out the mission of salvation and liberation to which the Lord himself has called us to collaborate," added Francisco.

Referring to the migrants, the pope said that many have arrived only a few months ago, but they are already helping the brothers and sisters who have recently come and thanked them "this beautiful sign of humanity, gratitude and solidarity".

During the requests of the mass, lifeguards were reminded that they save lives in the Mediterranean.

"Bless the rescuers in the Mediterranean Sea and make the courage of truth and respect for each human life grow in each one of us," was heard among the requests.

It was also requested by the migrants rescued in recent years so that "they can be welcomed by all of us with love and as a gift received."

For God "no one is foreigner or excluded," the pope said in one of the prayers with which the mass was started and in which he prayed that "the displaced, the exiles, the victims of segregation, abandoned children or defenseless have the warmth of a home and a homeland "and so that" we have a sensitive and generous heart with the poor and the oppressed ".

Today's Mass recalled the visit that Francisco made on July 8, 2013 to Lampedusa, the first place that the Argentine pope decided to visit at the beginning of his pontificate, after the dramatic wrecks in which hundreds of migrants died in their journey from Africa to Europe.

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